For over a year now, the social media teams of Opposition parties have worked in synergy to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This unofficial alliance threatened to come apart in the last 24 hours. On Wednesday, Congress social media chief Divya Spandana posted a video appeal to crowdfund the election campaign of a Congress candidate in Karnataka. She said Congress was the first party in India to launch such a campaign. AAP's social media head Ankit Lal contested this, pointing out that AAP had crowdfunded its campaigns since November 2012. “It's good that you are following us. Would have been better if you hadn't lied about being the first to do so,” he tweeted. Spandana responded the Congress effort was indeed a “first”. Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha leader Derek O'Brien (pictured), who has acted as a catalyst for cooperation among Opposition social media teams, tweeted to Spandana and Lal: “Peace out guys. There is a match to be won.” Lal responded the match “cannot be won by lying and claiming what AAP has done for more than five years was a Congress innovation”.
Mamata as PM?
Hours after Congress President Rahul Gandhi indicated he was not averse to taking up the role of India's Prime Minister, a campaign was discreetly launched on Facebook pitching West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a prime ministerial candidate. Launched by supporters of Banerjee, the campaign urges supporters "cholo bodlai, ebaarbangali pradhan mantri chai" (let us bring change; let us root for a Bengali Prime Minister this time). A huge photograph of a smiling Mamata Banerjee above the slogan makes it amply clear who the Bengali Prime Minister in question is. While the page has been up and running for about six years, the posts calling for "didi as PM" were put up on Tuesday.
A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report has put Patna ahead of Delhi in the list of Indian cities with most air pollution, causing much consternation in the Bihar government. Casting doubts over the findings, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said, while the air quality in Patna was poor, there was no reason to panic. While addressing a workshop on air pollution jointly organised by the Centre for Environment, Energy and Climate Change and Bihar State Disaster Management Authority, he claimed “the state Pollution Control Board figures are different” and that “we have written to the Central Pollution Control Board, asking it to share details about the statistics given to the WHO”.